Calantas

Scientific name

Toona calantas syn. Cedrela calantas. Family: Meliaceae

Local names

Surian (Indonesia, Malaysia), kalantas, limpaga, New Guinea cedar

Description and natural occurrence

A medium to large hardwood attaining 40 m in height, with grey to grey-brown bark, which is shed in thin patches. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

Wood appearance

Colour. Heartwood is light red to red-brown, sapwood is pink-grey.

Grain. Grain is straight or interlocked and wavy. Texture moderately coarse. The wood is similar in appearance and odour to red cedar, Toona ciliata.

Wood properties

Density. 480 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2.1 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. (<S7) unseasoned, (SD8) seasoned.

Stress grades. F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F4, F5, F7, F8 (seasoned), when visually stress-graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. J5 unseasoned; JD4 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. Approximately 7.0% (tangential); 4.0% (radial).

Unit shrinkage. Not available.

Durability above-ground. Class 1 - life expectancy over 40 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 2 - life expectancy 15 to 25 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Sapwood is susceptible to lyctine borer attack.

Termite resistance. Not resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation.

Seasoning. The timber dries rapidly but care is required due to the risk of internal checking and collapse.

Hardness. Very soft (rated 6 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Easy to work with hand and machine tools if blades are kept sharp. The timber is inclined to be ´woolly´.

Fixing. No difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. Gluing can be difficult in occasional material exhibiting resin exudation.

Finishing. Stains, polishes and paints well, except for occasional material exhibiting resin exudation.

Uses

Decorative. Panelling, doors, joinery, furniture, carving, piano cases, boat and ship interiors, veneers, turnery.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Grey-white or pink, sharply defined.

Heartwood. Light red or red brown.

Texture. Moderately coarse and uneven, grain interlocked and wavy. Soft to cut.

Wood structure

Vessels. Ranging from large in the first formed part of the ring, to medium-small in the latter part of the ring; solitary, groups of 2-3 cells and an occasional cluster. Sparse. Dark-red gum-like deposits occasionally present. Vessel lines very prominent on longitudinal surfaces.

Parenchyma. Scarce, visible only as fine terminal bands.

Rays. Fine to medium, distinct to the naked eye.

Other features

Burning splinter test. The wood burns to a full white ash.

Figure. Prominent on back-sawn faces due to ring-porosity.

Further reading

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.

Last updated 04 August 2010